If you have suffered from a dental abscess and believe it was down to the negligence of your dentist you could have a dental abscess claim for compensation.
What Is A Dental Abscess?
A dental abscess is an extremely painful infection under the surface of the gums which tends to target teeth roots and the surrounding area. In the early stages of a dental abscess, relatively minor degrees of tooth decay may allow bacteria to get under the tooth and into the roots. Bacteria can over time cause infection which is often highly visible in the form of putrid pus. If the situation goes untreated then it can potentially infect and gradually rot away surrounding soft tissue. This can then lead to other significant health issues some of which may leave a long-term impact.
If a dental abscess is diagnosed early enough it is simply a case of draining the fluid from the infected area, injecting antibiotics and repairing any surrounding tooth decay. As the majority of dental patients will at some point have x-rays to check for varying degrees of dental erosion, even early stage abscesses should show up. If your dentist has inadvertently missed the emergence of an early stage, or even late stage dental abscess which has gone on to cause significant pain and additional health issues then you should seek legal advice.
Dental Abscess Symptoms
Even in the relatively early stages of a dental abscess, chewing on a tooth with an abscess can lead to excruciating pain. There are a number of symptoms that an abscess is beginning to form which include:
- Putrid taste in the mouth;
- Throbbing/shooting pains in the infected area;
- Swollen gums;
- Pus leakage from the gum area;
- Excruciating pain when eating in certain areas of your mouth;
- Swollen neck glands;
- Swollen jaw.
An undiagnosed abscess can lead to an array of health issues such as:
- Extraction of multiple teeth;
- Erosion of soft tissue;
- Deformation of the jawbone;
- Infections spreading to other areas of the body;
- Numbness when the nerve endings have been eroded;
- Lack of feeling with extreme abscesses (the tooth roots have died) which can lead to more damage.
The very fact that early stage abscesses are relatively easy to treat is what for many people makes this situation more frustrating. A simple draining of the infected fluid, injection of antibiotics and a sealing of the damaged tooth will kill the infection.
Compensation For A Dental Abscess
Dental health is a very important part of an individual’s overall health and any detriment can be both painful, lead to protracted treatment and in some circumstances lead to long-term disfigurement. If you have suffered from an abscess due to dental negligence there are different levels of compensation available for general damage to teeth which may be included when calculating a compensation settlement. The current compensation guidelines for damaged teeth are as follows:
- Relatively minor damage to the back teeth can lead to compensation of between £930 – £1,460 per damaged tooth.
- Loss or serious damage to a front tooth sees compensation of between £1,880 – £3,370.
- Damage to 2 front teeth is more serious with compensation from £3,710 – £6,510 available depending upon the severity of the damage.
- Loss or serious damage to several front teeth often leads to compensation from £7,460 – £9,740.
- Significant long-term damage and excruciating pain can lead to compensation awards as high as £32,540.
There are a number of other potential complications when it comes to dental abscesses which can lead to additional compensation claims for chronic pain, tissue damage and even scarring. We would advise speaking with a solicitor about your dental abscess injury, this way they can get the full picture and factor everything in that you could claim compensation for.
Proving Dental Negligence For An Abscess
If you believe your dentist failed to diagnose or treat an abscess then you may have a dental negligence claim for compensation but you will need to prove negligence. Those working within dental practices are obliged to administer treatment in a timely and professional manner and if they fall short of industry standards they could be held to account. Some examples of dental negligence include:
- Mistreatment of relatively minor dental damage which leads to an abscess;
- A delay in diagnosing an abscess despite regular checkups;
- Mistreatment when draining a diagnosed abscess which can lead to further painful treatment;
- Failure to administer the relevant course of antibiotics to treat an abscess;
- Negligent mistakes in dental procedures which lead to complications;
- Failure to fully eradicate the original infection which then returns.
You will require supporting evidence when looking to prove dental negligence such as a copy of your medical records showing dentist appointments and dental treatments, x-rays which may show the emergence of a dental abscess, witness statements, photographs, and expert observations from industry personnel. In many cases, especially where there have been early x-rays, it can be relatively easy to prove a dental negligence and claim compensation. However, it is highly advisable to contact a personal injury solicitor to review your case, evidence and chances of success.
The majority of personal injury solicitors in the UK will have dealt with dental negligence claims fairly regularly. When presented with details of your injuries from a dental abscess and supporting evidence they will be able to assess the strength of your claim. If they advise you to file a dental abscess claim most solicitors will suggest doing so on the basis of a No Win No Fee Agreement.